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Published: Thursday, 7/8/2010

U.S. Justice Department says Russians will release 4 in spy swap


WASHINGTON — The Russian government will release four people accused of betraying Russia to the West, the Justice Department said in a letter Thursday outlining the international spy swap.

“The key provision of the United States-Russia agreement is that the Russian Federation has agreed to release four individuals who are incarcerated in Russia for alleged contact with Western intelligence agencies,” said the letter to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in New York.

Some of the Russian prisoners worked for the Russian military, and some worked for both the military and various Russian intelligence agencies.

On the U.S. end of the spy swap, Wood ordered 10 defendants who admitted acting as Russian spies deported from the United States.

The letter did not name the four, describing three of them as having been “convicted of treason in the form of espionage on behalf of a foreign power” and serving lengthy prison terms.

“The Russian prisoners have all served a number of years in prison and some are in poor health,” the letter added.

The family members of the four will leave with them for resettlement.

Three of the four were accused by Russia of contacting Western intelligence agencies while they were working for the Russian or Soviet government, the letter stated.

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